Amazon Prime Day isn’t here just yet, but sellers need to act now to drive optimal results for the highly anticipated summer retail sales event.
While no official date has been released by Amazon, it’s been widely reported that the popular two-day event is most likely to return next month. Last year, it took place on July 12 and July 13 (and was announced by Amazon in mid-June.) That makes mid-July, on or around July 11 and July 12, a logical bet.
There’s a lot at stake for sellers. Amazon has more than 200 million paid Prime members globally. Last year, Prime members purchased more than 300 million items worldwide during Prime Day — a record, according to company data. What’s more, sales traffic tends to be higher in the days leading up to and immediately following the two-day event, so it’s more like a week-long sales opportunity for sellers.
Of course, some of the biggest buys go to retail giants, from Apple products to Shark vacuums, which in the past year are among the most popular items purchased. The economy has softened, too, and demand is down in the retail sector. Nevertheless this year is expected to be another big year, with 68% of consumers likely to shop on Prime Day, according to a report from Jungle Scout, which provides software and research to Amazon sellers.
Sellers can start preparing by getting information directly from the horse’s mouth. Amazon offers videos from its Seller University on how to maximize profits on Prime Day. For example, it talks about the importance of concise, relevant titles, product listings with rich details and keywords that are likely to appeal to customers.
Here are some additional actions that Amazon ecommerce platform consultants say sellers should be taking now to proactively prepare:
Stay on top of inventory deadlines and available stock
Amazon recently told sellers to have their inventory for Prime Day at U.S. fulfillment centers by June 15, according to Chris Compean, co-founder and chief executive of Mayan, an inventory and advertising automation technology provider to Amazon sellers. Sellers can also consider fulfilling some of the orders themselves.
If possible, sellers should use data from previous years to determine the ideal amount of inventory. Absent data, a general rule of thumb is to plan to sell at least twice as much as usual during the two days, Compean said. Inventory is challenging to get exactly right in the current economic environment — even the biggest retailers have struggled after the pandemic boom, inflation and 2023 consumer weakening — but generally speaking, sellers should always have 60 to 90 days of product in stock. “As long as you are well-stocked in general, you’ll be okay for Prime Day,” Compean said.
Begin your Prime Day marketing two weeks early
At least two weeks before Prime Day sellers should start building up their visibility, said David Hutchinson, vice president of marketplaces at NP Digital, a digital marketing agency. As part of that initial effort, sellers also need to determine how they are going to compete, whether that’s by dropping prices, offering Lightning Deals — a discount over a short period of time — or coupons on Prime Day, or running these types of promotions, possibly for a few days before and after the two-day event, he said. Lightning Deals, for example, can improve brand awareness and boost sales, but they can also flop. Couponing, meanwhile, can increase sellers’ visibility, but they must have enough inventory to be able to handle the potential sales boost.
Use Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook — and Amazon-provided URL links
Sellers should promote deals that they’re planning to offer on their various social media sites and their dedicated Amazon Store page.
“You want to prime customers to be ready to look for your brand on Prime Day,” Compean said.
Amazon allows sellers to create URLs to include in their Prime Day social media posts, so be sure to do this. “You want customers to be able to click directly on your Instagram post, go to Amazon and buy the product right then,” said Mike Scheschuk, president of small and medium business at Jungle Scout. “It’s the same with TikTok, YouTube or Facebook, or whichever social media platform you want to post on,” he said.
Using Amazon URLs ensures that your sales analytics will include a sufficient level of detail. “You’re not just tracking you got three hundred clicks as a result of a post. You can actually see what they bought as a result,” Hutchinson said.
Don’t be stingy — offer deals across all products
Some of the best-selling items in the U.S. on Prime Day in previous years have included beauty items, pet products, kitchen essentials, children’s clothing, toys, electric toothbrushes, electronics and outdoor gear and apparel. Of course, small businesses are competing with some of the biggest brands as well for consumer dollars, with Apple products, Shark vacuums, and premium beauty brands also among top Prime Day sellers. Compean recommends sellers offer Prime Day deals on all their products to maximize potential sales.
Don’t forget to advertise before and after Prime Day
Sellers should plan to spend more on advertising in the days ahead and immediately following Prime Day, when traffic tends to be higher. Last year, average ad spend per brand spiked 320% over “typical days” and rose by 11% from Prime Day 2021, according to Jungle Scout’s e-commerce data.
Budgeting can be tricky, especially for sellers that don’t have prior years’ data to compare, said Dan LeBlanc, co-founder and chief executive at Daasity, an e-commerce analytics platform. In this case, sellers should budget enough so that if the ads don’t generate a return, they won’t feel pinched. A general rule of thumb might be twice the amount of a normal day. “You don’t want to throw your whole marketing budget into this week,” he said.
Audit your customer reviews and product listings in advance
Sellers should use the weeks leading up to Prime Day to pay extra attention to reviews and ensure their products are easy to find. This could include using paid keyword research tools that help businesses determine which keywords are trending on Amazon, or were popular on Prime Day last year.
Popular keywords aren’t always obvious, though they do fall into categories that are known to be Prime Day winners. Examples that were popular last year on Prime Day include “gel nail polish,” “baby clothes,” “wall clock” and “router,” according to data from Feedvisor, an intelligence platform for sellers.
Sellers can also test to see which product images resonate most with customers, Scheschuk said. That’s typically done by performing A/B testing to see which content, including product images, resonates most with customers using an Amazon-provided service, he said. Using A/B testing, one group of customers sees one version of the content, while a second group views the other. Sellers can then review which version had the best results and use that going forward.
It isn’t possible to provide precise advice on images — that is what case-specific A/B testing is for — but generally speaking, advice to Amazon sellers suggests that imagery used be clear and either product- or lifestyle-focused. It’s also best to keep the product as identifiable as possible as well — will shoppers immediately be able to tell what’s being advertised when seeing the creative?
Get a small business badge to stand out
Many small businesses haven’t applied for a small business badge, which identifies products from U.S.-based small company brands.
“Many people want to support small businesses,” Hutchinson said. “When all things are equal and there’s a few cents difference, as a consumer, you will likely side with the small business versus a large corporation. It’s another way to stand out on Prime Day.”
The small business badge is free, but there are certain Amazon-imposed restrictions, which sellers can learn more about by visiting Seller Central, Amazon’s management portal for third-party sellers.
Amazon uses the Gartner definition of small business to determine which sellers qualify. That means they must have fewer than 100 employees and less than $50 million in annual revenue. Additionally, a brand needs to register in the Amazon Brand Registry or participate in the company’s Handmade program for artisans, according to eComEngine, which offers software to support Amazon sellers.
Remember this is not Black Friday — stay focused on Amazon
For Prime Day specifically, don’t try to drive traffic to other shopping sites you may be listed on such as Shopify or Walmart because that’s not where the bulk of people are going to be looking for deals. “It’s not Black Friday,” Hutchinson said.
Already start thinking about next year’s deadlines
Amazon offers certain Prime Day promotional benefits to eligible businesses who meet its requirements, LeBlanc said. But the deadlines for these benefits are months in advance. Thinking ahead for next year can help sellers take advantage of these special promotional opportunities, he said.